Kodak’s new technology may double image clarity, even in dim light

Kodak, the largest maker of photographic films, has come out with a new technology that radically improves image quality in dim light. The technology operates much like the human eye, capturing intensity and color information of light separately, making it possible to have crisp, clear pictures even in dim light. The technology also significantly enables an increase in shutter speeds (more speed reduces blur around moving objects).Quote from an article @ Wired

"What this is really doing is addressing light sensitivity," says Michael DeLuca, marketing manager for image sensors at Kodak. "We're not impacting what is going on in the fundamental structure of the pixel."
How it works?

Typically, the digital camera has an image sensor with pixels to convert light signals to electrical signals. Filters are used to make the pixels (picture elements) sensitive to green, blue or red light. Now most cameras use a Bayer filter (named after Dr. Bryce Bayer, the Kodak engineer who invented the pattern ) in which the pixels are arranged in an array such that 50% are for green light while remaining 25% each are for red and blue light. Software algorithms are used to collate the information from the pixels to reproduce the original image. So for an 8 mega pixel camera this works out to 4 million green pixels and 2 million each of blue and red pixels.

In the new technology, about 50% of the pixels will be "panchromatic" meaning they will be clear to capture all light. So this works out to 4 million "clear" pixels, 2 million green and 1 million each of blue and red pixels. Optimized software algorithms use the data captured by clear pixels to augment a two times to four times improvement in image quality.

The technology is set to debut in gadgets in 2008.

More links:

Kodak's ground-breaking image sensor technology (Pocket-lint)

Kodak's new image sensor may eliminate flash (Yahoo Tech)

New Kodak sensor pulls colours out of shadows (Tech News World)